7 and Holding…

Whew! Back above 7,000 after that scary skirting of 6,000. Maybe (hopefully) the number is 7. So, I’m pulling weeds yesterday ($8 – $10 for  weed killer – bad for the environment or free and 157 squats – good for the pear in me – no brainer) and thinking, what more can we do?  We lost $11 TRILLION  last year!  A few coupons ain’t gonna cover that…

But just like the market’s 400 point surge on two little pieces of positive info (Bernanke saying it’ll be over this year and Citigroup having, woohoo, two profitable months) we can realize a big positive as well by combining LOTS of little things. Pulling weeds, using coupons, becoming DIY’ers, bartering, giving things up, settling for less. There’s no one thing that’ll do it, but a combined attack on your expenditures can deliver strong results.

So, from the person who (yes, I admit it) washes out her baggies  to reuse them, which saves $ and landfill space, I searched out some things to think about.

First thing I found – a free haircut thanks to Herbal Essences.  Well, sorta. You have to buy stuff, and then do a rebate kind of thing to get the free cut. If you find it on sale and have coupons and would use the stuff anyway, it might make sense. But, if any of these is not true, free costs you more than that $9 cut at wherever. This week I’m buying Fructis at .99 with $1 off coupons. I did find, however, that this site also offers coupons. The right sale and you might score. Personally, I like Herbal Essences. I just like free better.

Must be spring time means a new “do” because I found two other hair articles. This one, “Haircuts and car repairs on the cheap,” seemed like an odd pairing. Then it clicked – chop shops!  Kidding. Actually, it points out a way to save money and help education at the same time : Use tech school labor.  Yes, you may be a little leery of that tattooed, green-haired, piercings everywhere tech touching your hair or your car, but relax. My parents freaked when boys let their hair touch the collar. Things change, and I’m thinking, if anything, this younger generation has an incredibly high tolerance for pain. Given the economic conditions, good for them. It’ll come in handy.

The last one didn’t wow me., but this is about finding lots of little ideas. Catchy title – “I’d Rather be a Brunette.”  Personally, I’d rather be bald and only have to worry about the cost of razors…

Need a vacation? Volunteer! Need repairs? Strap on that tool belt! Want to talk to your spouse/parent/child who moved to India for a job? Want more deals? Become a secret agent. (I think the ol’ saying is “ask and you shall receive.”) Can’t hurt to try. Have some money? That’s pretty trick (yes, I know, showing my age. That went out in ???) Need some new duds? Think thrift shops. Consignment shops are filled thanks to people trying to generate cash and you can score. Really desperate? You may be worth something.Not in my top ten ideas for generating income, but blood banks are always thirsty. Speaking of which, how about some income those IRS rascals can’t touch? Now, ready to  stock away some money since you’ve found all these savings? Banks want it. May them pay for it!

My “I love you, man” award of the week goes to a Chicago sheriff who’s reluctant to process evictions. Since we’ve got the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America,” Joe Arpaio, I’m not holding out much hope for folks here, but I applaud the efforts of someone who’s not letting lenders get another freebie. I’m thinking the bailout dollars are enough. If they need to foreclose, let ’em actually follow the proper processes.

But, in the end, the best advice for these tumultuous times is the same thing that brought the market back to 7 – a little positive thought. Letting all the gloom and doom control your life won’t change whatever’s going to happen out there. But, a little Zen in our lives might make it easier to deal with. Here’s to optimism!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Right now, it’s tough for many to embrace those words. If the economic crisis boat is floating in your tub, that’s assuming your tub hasn’t already been foreclosed on, it’s hard to feel grateful. Retailers could likely find this to be the year that “Black” Friday becomes “Still in the Red” Friday. The idea of putting up a tree when you don’t know where the dollars will come from to put anything under it overwhelms us. I’m guessing doctors are handing out mood elevators faster than the neighbor who offered full-size candy bars on Halloween. Face it, it’s bleak out there – financially –  which means it’s also devastating emotionally.

Yes, it may be the worst holiday season you’ve ever experienced, financially. But it doesn’t have to be an emotional train wreck. It can be a time of reassessment, of rethinking that can lead to a resurgence of your spirit, if not your cash flow. In this long-term predicament, that’s crucial.

First, breathe deep. The next thirty-plus days are among the most stressful we face. Now, look inside. Do you matter? Of course you do. To someone. And, it’s not because of the stuff you buy. It’s because of you.  That’s the first lesson in making the holidays more manageable:

CUT YOUR LIST DOWN TO THOSE PEOPLE WHO MATTER.

How many of your holiday dollars are spent on “should” buys? Drop them. Giving isn’t about shoulds. Frugal people understand this. They don’t, however, reallocate that money to someone else. They reduce their holiday expenses.

The second lesson in your holiday-expense reduction plan?

WHAT CAN I DO FOR PEOPLE ON MY LIST THIS YEAR?

DO, not BUY. All of us have talents. Seldom do our talents and those of the people we care about match exactly. What can you do for someone that they will appreciate because they can’t do it. Or don’t want to. Or don’t have the time. That’s a great gift. (Don’t worry, I’ll be back in a few days with tips for all that “doing” you’ve decided to try this year.)

The third question you must ask to reduce stress and money this season?

WHO CAN I HAVE AN HONEST DISCUSSION WITH ABOUT GIFTING?

Years ago my best friend and I quit exchanging gifts. Our friendship was a year-long gift to each other. Family draws? Maybe you can stop them. Or reduce the limit. Or require the gift be homemade. Same at the office. Often, we overspend because we don’t want to “look” cheap. Anytime you can drop a draw, do so.

These three mindset changes can have an enormous impact on your holiday bottom-line, not to mention your emotional well-being. I hope they bring just a tad relief so that whether you’re enjoying a full-out turkey extravaganza or nuking a can of turkey noodle soup, you can embrace “Happy Thanksgiving,” (which, by the way, is a great time to broach that “drop the draw” discussion.)

Frugal Requires Focused Funding…

7500. That’s where the Dow is. Ok, rounded up it’s 7600, and (supposedly) set for a big open. Are you holding your breath? Open doesn’t count. It’s where it closes that matters. I read recently (can’t find the link) that 7000 would be the number. I’m beginning to believe.

Best I can tell, the latest freefall centers on two things: GM and jobs. I’m torn. We can’t afford to lose more jobs. But we can’t save every poorly run company either.

I studied the recent round of expertise on GM’s impact on our economy. Bailout or bankruptcy the pundits ask. So much at stake. Their demise could lead to 3 million more lost jobs. The kicker in that figure? GM employs just 123k people. The big three (if you can call them that) employ about 240k. But… each person accounts for another 4 jobs – another million people. AND, another 1.7 million people have jobs thanks to those 1.2 million. Which lead us to a key reason why GM and the others are floundering. Big wages – 1.2 million people buy enough to keep another 1.7 million in jobs. And that leads us to the root problem –  Mfg. only accounts for about 12% of our GDP now. Services (as in people who make far less) accounts for 67%. 

That figure made frugal crystal clear to me. We, the generation who wanted our children to have more, spoiled them on mfg. wages. They, the generation who believed us and acquired more, live on service wages. Any wonder we’re in this mess?

I’m not intellectually well-versed enough to analyze the macro/micro implications of GM. Here’s what I do understand:

If you give a failing company more money to continue under the same management to do the same things that made them a failing company…  (I believe AIG’s 2nd run to the money trough proves this point.)

Yes, the government successfully bailed out Chrysler years ago. But, Lee Iacocca took over – a new leader, new team, new ideas.  And, we still had a strong manufacturing base back then – people still bought American. Today, we’re trying to fix things (personally as well as nationally) based on the definition of insanity: continuing to do the same things (when everything has changed!) and expecting different results.

The time to save manufacturing was long ago: Ten years ago when 76% of socks were US made; twenty years ago when we started losing the 3.7 million jobs now in China and India; fourteen years ago when the million jobs in apparel and footwear began vanishing.  

I have nothing against GM, Ford, and Chrysler. I wish they were better businessmen/women. I wish 3 million jobs didn’t hinge on a larger deficit for the American public. I wish someone had the foresight to address our dwindling manufacturing economy  before it, well, dwindled. But they didn’t. The reality is this: The more we move to service-sector wages, the more mfg. jobs we will lose. BECAUSE WE CAN’T AFFORD AMERICAN. That’s why jobs moved overseas to begin with – COST. A bailout won’t change that. The question shouldn’t be, “How do we save GM,” it should be, “How do we fix our service-based economy?” 16 million, maybe 19 million jobless folks are counting on that answer.

I watched the election coverage diligently. To me, the historic implications of this choice had nothing to do with age or color. It had to do with the devastating economic challenges our new leader would face.  I needed to know how that person intended to fix this disaster. What I learned? Obama is a brilliant politician. It wasn’t until his acceptance speech that he used the two words that summarize, truthfully, the only things that can salvage our financial future, the two words that if bantered about during campaign stops quite probably would have derailed him. Sacrifice and Service. We are now a service-based economy. That requires sacrifice.  

A chicken in every pot is still possible given good couponing and attention to the weekly ads. A house, new car, DVD and plasma screen TV are not. Those of us living frugal lifestyles understand this. I wish our government did. Manufacturing doesn’t drive our economy. Service does. Period. We have to live on service wages. The government has to collect taxes and budget their spending based on service wages. 12% of the GDP won’t change that.

So, my question is this – do we save 3 million jobs in the short-term, or find ways to employ the 16 million already out of work? Do we save three businesses, or spread that money over the multitude of small businesses failing daily because even after round one of the bailout program there’s no financing available?   Do we start now living the new American dream – sacrifice and service? Or, do we just continue the insanity?

Frugal Has No Fantasy Fix

How do you know the economy is in trouble? Read this. Then, check your email.

Lately, my junk box is stuffed. Some of the garbage is even making its way to my in box through all that techie stuff hubby set up to keep the culprits out. They (meaning the villainous vultures who see bad news as a way to make a buck) are working overtime. Here’s a sampling from just ONE day’s attack of over 35 “solutions” to my core problem of, well, needing money.

A) These guys either want to give me money, or get rid of the money I owe. Guess what? They don’t do it for free. Always, always check with the Better Business Bureau, your banker, your uncle’s banker before you SPEND money to erase/correct debt. It’s a computerized world. The record will exist. If you can reduce your debt, it’s there for the world to see. It will impact future credit. It often doesn’t work. Think lawyers – they charge you for taking the case, not for guaranteeing the outcome. So do these guys.
      
Fast Friendly Loans Loan (loo@mypromisedvictories.com)
2Avoid4Closure Message(bttra@yourgreatsve.com) We Could Help You Stop Foreclosure‏
Debtco Debt Solutions (DebtSolutions@dncards676.com)
Debt Wipe (debtwipe@ustosia.com)
Debtco Debt Solutions (support@thekicksilvers.co
CreditRepair.com (creditrepaircom@skeloldo.com)
Credit Department (creditdepartment@belosia.com)
Consolidate Debt…from EclipseMediaOnline (help@imposearseswant.com

B) You’ve seen these advertisements everywhere. Send us your gold. Right. I’m gonna send you what few valuables I have left, HOPING that you’ll be honest about receipt, weight, etc. This doesn’t sound like the wisest move I could make. Not that wisest move often describes decisions made during financial stress. Before trying any of these, visit local jewelers first to see if you can PUT THE STUFF IN HANDS YOU CAN TOUCH AND LEAVE WITH THE CASH.

*G0T-USED G0LD?* (worthit@checkwinners.com)
~~WE BUY JEWELRYandG0LD~~ (EasyPz@castresults.com)
Cash4Gold (MW2263199QJ@SIMPLEPHONEOFFERS.COM)
Get Cash For Your Gold Jewelry (zZ62263199uD@thenewamazingrareoffers.com)

C) These sweethearts have free stuff for me. Ever try to collect? There is no free. Just page after page after page of “offers” they’re trying to hook you into so you get the free stuff.  I gave up after about 20 pages…

Laptops for FREE (Laptops@dncards676.com)
You Qualify! (Sample@melslipyard231.com) free samples
Mike G (ts@kzadvantage.com)  free gift and laptop
Product Test Panel (Vx2263199cBn@REALOFFERSPRO.COM) free Wii System
Trip on us (r7HV2263199VC@REALOFFERSSTORE.COM) free $2000 Expedia gift card
Thank You (offer@melneddlenose322.com) free Walmart gift card
Weekly Grocery Savings (bbTO10062728631TZ@FANTASTICGREATOFFER.COM) $500 Holiday Gift Card

D) Then, of course, others want to educate me so I can get a better job and improve myself out of this nightmare. Degrees don’t come from emails; they come from hard work at an accredited college. And, yes, employers do check credentials. They’re receving 250+ resumes per job posting. They can be choosy.

Nursing Careers (woodhaven@painterstart.com
Investigator Degree from EclipseMediaOnline (Emmanuel@vitalblowrore.com)
Business Certificates…from EclipseMediaOnline (thank_you@nearcouldready.com)
CriminalJusticeDegreesExclusive (criminaljusticedegreesexclusive@randust.com)

College Moms (collegemoms@smorras.com)
X-RayTechnician (patsfan@solarpowermario.com)

E) And, of course, everyone has jobs:

Help Desk (esozm@wilfamilymall.com) this one found me a job
WorkFromHome (workfromhome@banryn.com)_
WorkFromHome-googlemoneytree (wfJ1006272863zmP@BIGNEWOFFERSDAILY.COM) Google system makes working from home a real deal‏
Home Jobs(ts@kzadvantage.com)
 R.Allen(esozm@alphadelpha.com) I made 277 people millionaires
 JohnC (JohnC@hederaadvice.com)
Michelle Andrews(michelle@summerpail.com) our Last Chance to make $22.50 every 15 min. Guaranteed‏
Casting Dept. (castingdept@kyastyriarin.com) Psst – their money’s in the glossies required…

Now, most of us won’t resort to desperate actions like robbery, murder, arson, insurance fraud, and suicide, all of which are on the rise, but we’re not above falling prey to some slickly written, compelling promise that sounds like an oh-so-easy solution. Folks, (as the guy we didn’t elect would say) there are no easy answers. Nor are there more than maybe 20 – 30 areas where we can cut back. Check any frugal blog or article on saving money. Most of the info is the same.

Face it. We’re way beyond shouldering the burdens. This economy is attacking us with a full body press. These tempting offers seem to provide hope, a chance, an opportunity to climb out from under the stress and pressure that lost jobs, late payments, faltering 401k’s and the like have dumped on us. All for just $19.95 or $29.99 or…

Don’t do it. Save your money. Make this your daily affirmation: “I am strong. I know there is no easy solution. I will endure and practice frugality to ease my burden.”  It’s kinda like losing weight – we didn’t end up in this shape overnight. We won’t get out of it that quickly either.

PS: If you’re bored, feel free to spam these jerks back. I’d love to see their servers crash.

Wacky Ways to Save Moolah

After 50 Ways to Trim Your Budget didn’t give me a whole lot of new ideas, I decided it was time to think outside the box – way outside the box…

1) Get a hair cut

My hair hangs to mid-back. Even with coupons I spend probably $10 – $15 a month on conditioner. A few snips and I’ll be able to cut that cost in half. Just think: less mousse, shampoo, hairspray, more time…

2) Speaking of hair, cut the kids’ hair yourself

A few months and you’ll probably get okay at it. It’s winter. They’ll be wearing hats, scarves, hoodies anyway.

3) Go on a diet

No, not Jenny or NutriSystem or whoever. I mean, an honest-to-god, eat-less diet. Smaller portions, less cost, teenier waistline…

4) Wear fewer clothes

Yes, I know it’s winter. I mean change into the same outfit every night for a week when you get home from work – same ol’ sweats.  Remember, it’s winter. You’re not stinking them up. Less clothes = less laundry. That’s less detergent, water, electricity, fabric sheets, bleach. Savings could be big. Let’s face it, the TV doesn’t care what you’re wearing. Neither do the kids. If the spousal unit does, lucky you!!

5) Eat out

I know, I know, this goes against every frugal tip. They’re just not looking at things correctly. Hit the happy hour buffet. Fill up. Leave immediately. (This is totally negated if you order a drink.) If you have kids, visit people at dinner time. Parents and grandparents are great options. If you try this with friends, you better have a lot of them and quit answering your own doorbell around sunset.

6) Clean less often

Truly, you don’t like to do it anyway. Let the kids draw in the dust. Saves on paper and crayons, too.

7) Bonfire!

Extend the shredder’s life and save electricity. Everyone can warm up around the fire place, fire pit, whatever when you ignite your weekly junk mail. Given my pile, that’s good for 30 minutes of heat. Add the week’s papers and you’ve got an hour. Not so environmentally correct, but hey, what ya gonna save first – your money or the planet?

8) Burn candles

This is a triple woohoo! Provides light and romance (that comes after you’re done using the melted wax to clear your upper lip or do a Brazilian bikini thing.)

9)  Family won’t eat leftovers? Good. Quit buying dog food. Pups prefer table scraps anyhow.

10) Exercise

Twenty jumping jacks per commercial break. Fifteen squat thrusts between shows. (Fifty pushups can be substituted, twenty-five at each) You’ll be warm and have the buffest family on the block.

11) Don’t floss.

It’s not the cost of floss – it’s the cost of visiting the dentist when that crown falls off… No gum either. Same issue.

12) Skip the dry cleaner

Do you really think most guys dry clean a suit after one use? Pfffft. Skip the Dryel sheets, too. Toss everything in the dryer for a few minutes with a regular ol’ dryer sheet to freshen it up. Good for most of the season unless you’re sloppy. If you are, stick the outfit in the back of the closet. May not fit next year anyhow.

13) Dry cleaning part II

Another way to take out the whiff-factor? Wear the outfit while you’re using air freshener in a room.

14) And another freshening idea

Put your cologne/perfume on in the car. No more of those little smell good, hangy things necessary.

15) Rub-a-dub-dub

Think community tub. Jacuzzis are great for this. Kids think they’re having fun, not bathing. Every few days a lack of soap won’t kill ’em. Their skin won’t dry out, which means less lotion, too. No Jacuzzi? Joint baths. Just make sure you separate by sex. Don’t want Child Protective Services knocking on the door.

16) Speaking of lotion…

Skip it. Scaley works. No one’s gonna see those legs again until spring unless you’re a lucky you (see #3).  However, that’s only if the lights are on. Turn ’em off – you’re conserving, remember!

17) No more breath mints

Go to the bank. Grab ’em off the counter. Same at restaurants – take handfuls. If you’re running low, don’t invade anyone’s space. Talk behind your hand because, “I think I’m catching something and don’t want to expose you,” cough, cough.

18) Stuffed up?

Forget the decongestants. Anything they use to make meth can’t be good for you. Think hot – sauce, soup, chili. Think vigorous exercise. Try a good cry. All of ’em make your nose run. 

19) Take a page from your kids’ playbook

Wear headphones – ALOT! If you don’t hear it, no response required, ie. no cash outlay. This is especially successful with teenagers when their friends are around.  Show enthusiasm for the tunes by boogeying down  – The Swim, Twist, Mashed Potato. Mortified teens don’t stick around.

20) Invite yourself

Everywhere! Neighbor mentions they’re running to the store? Respond, “Oh, can I join you? I just need to pick up a few things,” as you drag out your three page list. Saves gas & vehicle wear & tear. Co-worker’s chatting about the potluck they have planned? You say, “Sounds wonderful. What can I bring? Is there anything you think I should avoid for the children’s sake?” That last part gets the info on whether this is a free family feed or just a night out for you & the spousal unit. If kids are out, invite them to sleepover – at someone else’s house. No babysitting costs and you still get everyone fed for the price of a dish.

21) Borrow stuff

The more expensive, the better. Baking makes great holiday gifts, but spices, molasses, vanilla – those things are expensive and you’ll use like one teaspoon or whatever. Suggest you and a friend/neighbor bake together (their house, of course.) Take only the essentials. Saves you all that high-dollar stuff. Need a holiday outfit? Pfffft. You gotta tap a lot of sources, but you can end up with the dress, shoes, earrings, purse, shawl that you need and spend zippo. (unless you’re sloppy. May require one dry-cleaning bill. Be neat & it’s just a dryer sheet.)

22) Give the fridge a break

More stuff in it means it works harder.  That’s a shorter lifespan. That’s more electricity. It’s winter in some places. Store stuff in the garage. Let nature keep it cold.

And, the 23rd wacky idea for saving money is…

23) Accept your age

Martina McBride had it right. You earned every one of those lines. Quit letting people tell you to slap on all that gooey stuff to get rid of ’em!

Laugh more. Check the stock market less. Know that you’re not alone in this financial fiasco.  

And, Vote November 4th!

The Great Debate – Did They Ever Answer a Question?

Up, down, up, down. The market’s making me nuts. And, just as many of you are learning about frugality for the first time, you’re also becoming more politically astute. Admit it. You watched the debate, not because you needed to add more negatives to your day, but because you wanted someone to tell you how government is going to fix this mess. And, therein lies the problem. Government fix is an oxymoron.

Anything we get from government, we pay for. Let’s look at healthcare. Whether we get $5k from McCain, or join the government plan as Obama proposes, neither is free. Taxpayers will foot the tab. And, as much as both candidates are telling us it won’t come out of our pockets, come on. We know better. It will. If government takes it from big business, big business takes it back in higher prices so stockholders are happy, which means the market quits going south, which means our 401k’s don’t implode which means… It’s a circle, and as part of the circle, we face Newton’s law – every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  Fixing it is up to us.

I checked this morning for some ‘wow!’ insights to help. Frugal Fanny has 6 tips for stretching her $5,416 monthly income. (Let’s not get testy, there. She’s an MIT grad. Personally, I figured she’d make more.) Her big wow? How she thinks about money: Saving vs. debt; putting her spending facts on paper; not worrying about what the neighbors are doing; no bulk buying. I think we covered this in needs vs. wants, which this statistic says we better get our heads around:

  • A growing number of Americans view debt as a lifestyle choice, according to Robert Manning, author of “Credit Card Nation,” living on as much as 120% of their incomes. (italics me) Anna has no personal debt besides her mortgage; her committed expenses come to only 73% of her income.
  •  

    73%? Then she saves 15% and budgets $400 for FUN? Damn!

     

    But, we’re beyond that. No one provided us such wisdom (or we didn’t listen) before we consumerized our life. Still, we’re learning. We’ve cut back on big-ticket spending. And, food prices are coming down, as are gas prices. That’s big help IF we don’t turn around and hand it back to the Holiday Fairy. Which is already stressing us out. Which is already making us ask, what else can I cut? Which makes us worry about how disappointed the kids are gonna be…

     

    Here’s a thought. Let’s give our children or grand-children a truly great gift this year: values about balancing budgets and living within their means. Let’s teach them about stretching dollars to pay for needs and saving for wants. Let’s teach them they’re ok, good, whole, wonderful  – even if they don’t own THE  toy of the season or some fashionistas’ latest, greatest (for the older kids).

     

    Last year we had the grandkids for a sleepover. We made cookies, toured some mega-sports store, ate subs (used coupons of course). Then, we went to Walmart where they chose Angels and picked out items for those Angels as their Christmas gift from us. Our six-year-old now separates toys out for the poor kids. The others (ages 8 – 12) have all asked if we can do it again. Kids aren’t too young to learn, to understand, to start gaining financial values that I wish I’d have figured out sooner. The challenge is breaking their little hearts. Who wants to say, “No Virginia, there is no Santa Clause,” (or whatever that quote was)?  

     

    No problem. This year, you can Let Santa Help. It’s a unique idea that will probably reduce a lot of stress this season. But, whether you use this site or not, I hope you’ll think about the benefits both you and your kids can realize when financial responsibility joins the list of critical values a caring parent teaches. 

     

    Vote November 4th.

    One of them will be spending your money. You should help decide which one.

     

    Recession, Depression – Exasperation!

    Woohoo! Market’s climbing, climbing, climbing… Thank God! Bill Gates is probably worth more than Warren Buffet again. People stopped panting, began breathing. Still, warnings are everywhere – it ain’t over. Five minutes ago, the market cleared 10,000. Now, it’s back at 9,300. I HATE roller coasters…

    But, I loved this article, partly because it offered some tips I’ve already suggested  (hey, who doesn’t enjoy affirmation), but mostly because its #1 suggestion is a killer way to embrace frugality: Act like you lost your job. Whatever you’d cut then, cut it now so you can pile up cash for the financial turbulence ahead.

    If it’s too late to “act like you lost your job,” this article summarizes options that may help. My suggestion: Don’t wait until you’re desperate.  You are not a failure, a free-loader, or a freak because you need assistance. Remember, every bit of help you learn to accept now will extend the time-line before accept turns into require.  Chances are, you already “paid it forward” when life was good. When things improve, give it back. That’s in $. Give it back now in time. Volunteer at food banks, shelters, Goodwill, your church, your school. They’ll be strained in the months ahead trying to meet the ever-expanding needs of people needing for the first time. Like you.

    For those needing for the first time, you’re probably angry, confused, overwhelmed, embarrassed. Gotcha. Been there. All those times I smugly thought, “Not gonna happen to me.” No matter what tips and suggestions you implement, those feelings will eat you alive if you don’t add one more to your I’m-drowning-in-debt-I-need-money survival bag: Gratitude.

    If you’re saying, “Oh come on, I’ve lost my job, I’m broke, I’m going bankrupt,” etc. etc. and think there’s nothing to be grateful for, think again.

    You have eyes to see this and the education to read it.  You have access to a computer and know how to surf the net. These are skills for finding a job. You’re breathing. You have family or friends. Or you don’t. All your body parts work. Or they don’t. The weather’s good. Or it isn’t. Personally, I think it’s getting cold. Some think this is the best time of year in AZ. Grateful me says, “At least I don’t have to worry about snow.”

    Everything depends on your attitude. Be the down-trodden, sour, I-don’t-deserve-this-why-me? each day, or find 5, 10, 20 things to be grateful for and start each day reminding yourself of them. It’ll show. Truthfully, if you’re the one hiring, which face do you want to add to your team?

    Vote November 4th. It’s our kid’, grandkids’, great-grandkids’ money…

    (Sorry, ours is already gone!)